Tag Archives: Confronting Academia’s Ties to Slavery in the USA

Confronting Academia’s Ties to Slavery in the USA

Photo: The enslaved Renty, pictured in 1850 and used by a Harvard biologist to support theories about racial difference. Credit J.T. Zealy

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — In 1976, archivists at Harvard’s natural history museum opened a drawer and discovered a haunting portrait of a shirtless enslaved man named Renty, gazing sorrowfully but steadily at the camera. Taken on a South Carolina plantation in 1850, it had been used by the Harvard biologist Louis Agassiz to formulate his now-discredited ideas about racial difference.        Continue reading

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